I feel that it may be safe to say that films dating back to the beginnings of horror are not viewed as much. I feel it sort of safe to say that I am one of those individuals who have not given those films the time that they deserve. When it was announced that Nightmare on Film Street’s January would be all about those Silver Screams, I was freaking excited. Not only would I have good reason to sit down with these films, but because I knew there would be plenty of knowledge from NoFS contributors hitting the website.

The following films are all available to stream, and all but one are first time watches for me. While I sort of knew the effect that black and white films can have (thank you Night of the Living Dead [1968] and The Wolf Man [1941]), I am now 100% sold that there are times when the lack of color can create the feeling of dread and wonder just as much as a vivid color palette can. Thank you to the following films for that.

 

 

Nosferatu (1922)

Vivid Atrocities in Black & White: 10 Silver Screams You Can Stream

There’s said to be a few variations of Nosferatu: different scores, different dialogue cards, high def versions, and others. I’m unsure of the version on Prime. I caught some things that are supposedly different. Those differences lie mainly in the dialogue cards. But matter, does it not! Nosferatu is a classic with many more layers than one would presume. Based on Bram Stroker’s Dracula, but not because legal reasons, Nosferatu is downright creepy. Watch it on Prime, and delve into the rich – and controversial – history of the film after your viewing.

Available on: Amazon Prime, Tubi, Youtube (Public Domain)

 

House in Marsh Road (1960)

Vivid Atrocities in Black & White: 10 Silver Screams You Can Stream

House in Marsh Road is a quaint little haunted house film. There’s plenty of old Hollywood within its short hour and seven-minute running time. There’s maybe about 7 minutes – if that – of ghostly action. The remaining hour is all story, character, and silver spectacle on a small scale. I promise that if you stick around for the hour of adultery and murder scheming that the 7 minutes of ghostly revenge is worth it.

Available on: Amazon Prime

 

White Zombie (1932)

Vivid Atrocities in Black & White: 10 Silver Screams You Can Stream

White Zombie features zombies for the first time in cinema, but they aren’t the Romero kind. They’re the Zombies of voodoo. This voodoo is used on an unsuspecting woman by manipulative men in order to get from her what they want. Icky, but the visuals here are anything but. Castle set pieces, flowing gowns, and the wingspan of a buzzard are just a bit of the visual treats that look all too beautiful in black and white.

Available on: Amazon Prime, Youtube (Public Domain)

 

The Old Dark House (1932)

Vivid Atrocities in Black & White: 10 Silver Screams You Can Stream

What a nifty film The Old Dark House is! Two different groups of people – who may have secrets – seek shelter during a storm at a house occupied by a family who also may have secrets.The roster of characters all have specific quirks about them which lends to the mystery of who has secrets and what they are. Shadows and light add to the silver in the film, and the tiny bits of humor make it even more enjoyable. Consider this a precursor to films like Knives Out (2019) and Ready or Not (2019), or even another silver scream, The House on Haunted Hill (1959).

Available on: Shudder

 

Black Sunday (1960)

Vivid Atrocities in Black & White: 10 Silver Screams You Can Stream

Barbara Steele is a classic Hollywood horror femme fatale, and has battled many a creepy in silver screams. She began her horror tenure with Black Sunday in which she portrays a witch who returns from the grave to inhabit the soul of a predestined woman so that she can wreck havoc in the name of Satan as well as the predestined woman who shall be inhabited. Extra silver scream points goes to the film as the slight gore sprinkled throughout is highly effective in black and white. There’s something about blood splatter or the stop motion animation revival of gooey body parts in black and white that adds to the ick factor. Black Sunday does just that.

Available on: Tubi

 

Cry of the Werewolf (1944)

Vivid Atrocities in Black & White: 10 Silver Screams You Can Stream

While not one of the most visually astounding silver screams, Cry of the Werewolf is still an interesting watch. It is one of the earliest representations of a female werewolf (the first belonging to the 1913 silent film, The Werewolf). The film plays out like a cop procedural with cops, detectives, and townspeople scrambling to figure out who is committing murders and why does it seem like the murders are being done by animal. Also involved are gypsy curses, people suddenly falling in love, bumbling cops, secret passages revealed within a fireplace mantle, and attempts at fumbling with werewolf lore that was only just recently created within Hollywood.

Available on: Amazon Prime

 

Tetsuo, I aka Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)

tetsuo-the-iron-man

Holy heck. I mentioned that seeing slight gore in black and white in Black Sunday was neat to see. How about unedited, insane practical gore from the late 80’s in black and white? Tetsuo is full of it. This low-budget horror film from Japan is batshit insane. Director and writer Shinya Tsukamoto created a frantic world where a metal fetishist gets revenge on the man who committed a hit and run against him by having the man become metal. A part of me wants to list off the insane gore bits that occur in the film, but I will refrain. Go to Shudder. Watch it now.

Available on: Shudder

 

The Eyes of My Mother (2016)

Vivid Atrocities in Black & White: 10 Silver Screams You Can Stream

Black and white films from the earlier decades are grainy and clipped, making them nostalgic in their viewings. Modern black and white films are missing those characteristics unless purposefully done, but it does not affect the film’s performance. The Eyes of My Mother is as every bit of a beautiful film that those earlier silver films are. I was literally in awe of the visuals – both broad and closeup – while watching. Shadows are captured perfectly. There are times when the lack of color but distribution of shadows matched the emotion that the film was giving. I’ll stop now before I go on and on about The Eyes of My Mother.

Available on: Netflix

 

Darling (2015)

Vivid Atrocities in Black & White: 10 Silver Screams You Can Stream

Darling is Lauren Ashley Carter’s (Darling) opus. She’s magnificent in the role of a young woman who slowly becomes possessed, and the use of black and white not only increased the visuals of the house that she was in, it brought to life her character more so than an actual color palette would have. The blood splatter was put to good use, as well. At times, it would cover the scenes until Darling would have to wipe them up which left me actually looking over the screen to see if she had missed any of it.

Available on: Amazon Prime, Tubi

 

Carnival of Souls (1962)

Vivid Atrocities in Black & White: 10 Silver Screams You Can Stream

Carnival of Souls has a bonafide top spot on my list of creepiest films. The tale of Mary who seemingly survives a streetcar racing accident only to be haunted by chilling visions of the undead has stuck with me since I first watched it 5 years ago. The scenes of the ghosts or the “undead” dancing or appearing from around corners gives me the heebie jeebies. Those heebie jeebies probably wouldn’t occur if the film were in color. A colorized version is actually available on Amazon Prime, but I do not recommend it is a first time viewing. The best version to watch is the black and white director’s cut which runs 1 hour and 23 minutes, and is available on Amazon Prime. The theatrical cut, running 1 hour and 18 minutes, is also available on Prime as well as Tubi.

Available on: Amazon Prime, Tubi, Youtube (Public Domain)

 

Out of all available streaming services that most have, Amazon Prime is the best place to look for black and white films. Their selection is vast. Hulu and Netflix are lacking. Shudder offers a few unique selections. If you dig through Tubi, you’ll find a handful. And, of course, there is a good selection of silver screams that are in the public domain and can be found on Youtube and other places.

I thoroughly enjoyed my mini deep dive into the silver streams. Of the films above, I’d only seen one, before. What other silver screams that are streaming do you recommend? List them off to us over on Twitter, reddit, Instagram, or on The Horror Movie Fiend Club on Facebook. Stick with us at Nightmare on Film Street throughout January for many more recommendations and deep dives into the black and white films of the past and of modern times!

 

Vivid Atrocities in Black & White: 10 Silver Screams You Can Stream